Ardbeg Traigh Bhan 19 Year Batch 3

Scotch Whisky Review #363: Ardbeg Traigh Bhan 19 Year Batch 3

Distillery: Ardbeg.

Region: Islay.

Age: 19 Year.

ABV: 46.20%.

Cost: Pour thanks to /u/L_Tyrion.

Color: 0.9, Amontillado Sherry.

This particular review was done blind with the only hint being “Islay”.

Nose: The nose is quite smokey but not so smokey that it over-runs the senses. There’s a meatiness and peatiness that comes across with a touch of fruit. The combination of it all reminds me of a barbecue sauce or tonkatsu sauce.

Palate: It’s really ashy. There’s nothing else here but the ash. With a bit of water, the ash does lighten up a bit lifting the curtain on some earthy and smoked fruit notes. Apricot is the main fruit here with some other ones I can’t quite pick out. The ash notes pick back up after a while through build up it seems.

Finish: Medium in length. Ashy with a bit of fruit, poached pears and apricots are what stand out.

Guess: The hint given was Islay, though I think it would be hard to try this and think outside of that island. The ash notes make me think of Caol Ila but the rest of it, mainly that fruity-meaty-smokey-saucey nose, make me think it’s a Port Charlotte or Octomore. This comes across as a young, super high peat level whisky. Probably under 10 years of age, probably 50-ish% ABV. Shot in the dark, but I’ll guess Octomore 09.1.

Reveal: Ardbeg Traigh Bhan 19 Year Batch 3.

Conclusion: How did I not even think of Ardbeg? After the reveal, it does feel a bit obvious but while doing this the distillery never crossed my mind. The peat levels are aggressive but the nose gives off a lovely combination of meaty, fruity, and smokey notes. Unfrotunately, for me, the rest of the whisky does not deliver on that. There are some strong ash notes for me and while some of it lifts up with water, it simply continues to overpower the senses for me over the course of the dram and afterwards. The ash notes were so strong, in fact, that I couldn’t taste the intense soap-esque floral notes from these violet mints that I would otherwise spit out almost immediately. Pretty wild, it isn’t bad by any definition of the word, but not really up in my wheelhouse.

Final Score: 74.

Scotch Whisky Review #363, Islay Review #58, Whisky Network Review #514

Scoring Legend:

  • 96-100: The perfect dram, nectar of the gods.
  • 90-95: Near perfect, there is something truly special about this whisky.
  • 85-89: Amazing, will always try to keep a bottle of this in my collection (if feasible).
  • 80-84: Very Good, maybe only one minor nitpick about the whisky keeping it here.
  • 75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink.
  • 70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get it.
  • 60-69: Meh, still drinkable.
  • Below 59: If you have a bottle of this, start cooking with it instead.

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